Mel Gibson’s drug-dealing character in the 1988 movie Tequila Sunrise explains at one point why he doesn’t quit selling drugs – it’s because no one wants him to.
“Nobody wants me to quit,” he says. “The cops want to bust me. The Colombians want my connections. My wife, she wants my money. Her lawyer agrees and mine likes getting paid to argue with him. Nobody wants me to quit. I haven’t even mentioned my customers here. You know they don’t want me to quit.”
This year, voting before Election Day – by mail or by early voting in-person – falls in the same category as Gibson’s character. There are a great many forces at work trying to get people to vote early, and, in the 2020 election, that encouragement to do so is clearly highly effective.
Parties want votes for their candidates banked early. Groups that encourage voter participation want people to vote early so there are no last-minute issues on election day. Health officials don’t want the polls slammed on Nov. 3, and county elections workers want some of their work done ahead of time.
One group that’s been incessant in its attempts to encourage voting by mail is the Center for Voter Information. Many area residents have received a half dozen North Carolina Absentee ballot request forms in recent weeks from the group, which also sends step by step directions for applying for an absentee ballot, as well as a prepaid, pre-addressed envelope to return that request.
If anyone is wondering about the Center for Voter Information, it calls itself a non-profit, non-partisan partner organization with Voter Participation Center, and it was founded to “provide resources and tools to help voting-eligible citizens register and vote in upcoming elections.”
The Washington-DC based group claims that, in cooperation with the Voter Participation Center, the Center for Voter Information has helped more than 5.5 million voters register and get to the polls over the years.
Plenty of other groups are also getting in on the act. The North Carolina Republican Party, to name one, also sent out absentee ballot request forms to citizens in the state this year.
There are even advertisements on virtual reality headsets encouraging people to vote early and to vote by mail.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the US has already hit about 90 percent of the early voting totals the country saw in 2016, and the country is on pace to smash those numbers from four years ago.
The Post reported this week that, with 13 days left to go before the election, over 42.1 million had already voted nationwide.
The long lines for Guilford County early voting sites provides evidence that Guilford County is as much a part of the trend as anywhere else.